14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18
See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good - this is God's will for our lives. The problem is it’s often not what our flesh wants to do. Our flesh is ruled by our emotions. It can be so hard to get past the anger or the hurt of damaged relationships to seek another person's good - especially when there is continued, relational pain. I've learned that we can only do this is in God's strength, only by relying completely on Him.
I remember God teaching this lesson to me some years ago. While the specific details are fuzzy to me now, because God has a way of helping us to forget what we look to Him to help us forgive, I do remember I had been praying for some time about how to respond to a deep hurt from a person close to me. The hurt was over a more recent incident, but it had been piled on top of decades of hurt. I decided it was time to let this person know how they had hurt me over the years. I was going to see this person, and I wanted to bring my hurt to them, but I wanted to be sure to bring it in a way that honors God, so I had been praying for the words. Each time I prayed, I came up with nothing. Like literally nothing. So, I kept praying, and each time I prayed, God softened my heart. The last time I prayed for the words just before I went to meet this person, and I could just hear Him whisper, “let it go.” So I conceded to let it go. I was reluctant, but I trusted the promptings of the Spirit, knowing that if God wanted me to say something, He would have given me the words.
I am so thankful for the way God speaks to us when we seek His will, for the way His Spirit moves and gives us wisdom when we spend time in His Word and in prayer. If I had not been in His Word every day, my desire to respond to this person would have been louder than the Spirit’s promptings to remain quiet. If I had not listened to the Spirit, I would not have been prepared to receive the humble apology given to me that day because I would have been more focused on what I thought I needed to say. I could hear Him whisper in the moment I received the apology, this is why I gave you no words. It was in those moments that our relationship changed, and I could have stood in the way of that if I had responded in my flesh.
Do not repay evil with evil. The actions committed against me were wrong, but as I sought His will, He would not let me repay evil with evil. His will for us is not to give back to people what they deserve, but to do good to everyone - even the ones that hurt us the most.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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